There are many thoughts as to where the name Cattell originates.  Here are a few with my favourite at the top. They can't even agree on the coat of arms.


The Pillar of Eliseg also known as Elise's Pillar or Croes Elisedd in Welsh, stands near Valle Crucis Abbey, Denbighshire, Wales, at grid reference SJ204442. It was erected by Cyngen ap Cadell (died 855), king of Powys in honour of his great-grandfather Elisedd ap Gwylog. The form Eliseg found on the pillar is thought to be a mistake by the carver of the inscription.
The Latin inscription not only mentions several individuals described in the Historia Britonum, but also complements the information presented in that text. A generally accepted translation of this inscription, one of the longest surviving inscriptions from pre-Viking Wales, is as follows:

† Concenn son of Cattell, Cattell son of Brochmail, Brochmail son of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Guoillauc.
† And that Concenn, great-grandson of Eliseg, erected this stone for his great-grandfather Eliseg.
† The same Eliseg, who joined together the inheritance of Powys . . . throughout nine (years?) out of the power of the Angles with his sword and with fire.
† Whosoever shall read this hand-inscribed stone, let him give a blessing on the soul of Eliseg.
† This is that Concenn who captured with his hand eleven hundred acres [4.5 km²] which used to belong to his kingdom of Powys . . . and which . . . . . . the mountain
[the column is broken here. One line, possibly more, lost]
. . . the monarchy . . . Maximus . . . of Britain . . . Concenn, Pascent, Maun, Annan.
† Britu son of Vortigern, whom Germanus blessed, and whom Sevira bore to him, daughter of Maximus the king, who killed the king of the Romans.
† Conmarch painted this writing at the request of king Concenn.
† The blessing of the Lord be upon Concenn and upon his entire household, and upon the entire region of Powys until the Day of Judgement.

The Pillar was thrown down by the Roundheads during the English Civil War and a grave under it opened. Edward Lhuyd examined the Pillar and copied the inscription in 1696. The lower half disappeared but the upper half was re-erected in 1779. The original inscription is now illegible.

This name is of Scandinavian origin and is a foreshortening of the personal compound name "Thurkettle" itself a derivative of the Olde Norse personal name Arnkell, composed of the elements "arn" meaning "eagle" and "ketil" translating as "a helmet" or "a helmeted warrior". The word "ketil" is also taken to mean "cauldron" but the translation "helmet" is generally accepted. (The two are connected by shape). The surname is found chiefly in North England, where Scandinavian influence was strongest, and is most common in Northumberland. In the modern idiom there are at least four spelling variations including Cattell, Catell and Cattle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Frieday Chetel - a freedman, Co. Norfolk. which was dated 1087, "History of Norfolk" - Blomefield and Parkin. during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus" 1087 - 1100. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

the common French Catel = 1. a dweller at or by a Chateau or Castle [Old Northern French catel, for castel / chastel: under Castle] 2. = Cate + the diminutive suffix -el. 

At the dawning of civilization in the country of Scotland, the Caddell or CALDER family emerged in historical writings. CALDER is a local surname, CALE signifies wood and DOR represents water, so CALDER is a woods between waters. Such is the case near the Castle of CALDER in Nairnshire. The name CAWDOR is an early phonetic spelling of CALDER as pronounced in the lowlands and northeast coast of Scotland. Encyclopedia Britannica lists CALDER as a very ancient Morayshire, Scotland family.

The current Nairnshire and Morayshire are situated just east of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. During the 11th and 12th centuries, Morayshire included Nairnshire and covered an area extending around the Moray Firth from Ross to Buchan and southwest to Atholl and Lochaber. Moray was a very ancient Pictish Kingdom, one of the seven Celtic earldoms, which was originally separate from the Kingdom of Scotland. Moray was ruled by its own line of Celtic Earls. In 1130, according to the Gaelic Chronicles, "a battle was fought between the men of Scotland and the men of Moray; and in it four thousand men of Moray fell, including their King Angus (Earl of Moray), the great grandson of King Macbeth by Lulach's daughter." Their lands were thus forfeited to the Crown.

At the time, the Kingdom of Scotland was ruled by King David (1124 - 1153 AD), and had been previously ruled by - his brother King Alexander (1107 - 1124 AD), King Edgar (1098 - 1107 AD), King Donald Ban (1093 - 1098) AD), King Malcolm III (1057 - 1093 AD), King Macbeth (1039 - 1057), and King Duncan (1033 - 1039 AD). King David created Angus' younger brother as the Earl of Ross.

The Moray men were known as "The Freemen of Moray." They lived under direct rule of the King. They held land on condition of giving the King military aid when needed. They were, in fact, a company of the King's men who owed no loyalty to a feudal superior. They were responsible for garrisoning the Royal castles. Their lands were called "Castle lands."

To possibly eliminate further trouble, many of the prominent leaders of Morayshire were "transplanted" being replaced by loyal Anglo-Normans. In 1153 AD the Celts of Moray again rose up against the Scottish Crown. By 1156 their uprising was quelled and further dependable newcomers settled in Moray. In 1163 King Malcolm IV defeated the men of Moray and Moray was soon absorbed by the Kingdom of Scotland. Malcolm drove out the troublemakers (of the men of Moray). Many of those driven out took refuge in the south and west, while others moved northwards into what is now Caithness and Sutherland, still under Norse rule.

The lands of CAWDOR were granted by Charter to the family in 1104 (King Edgar), 1112 (King Alexander I), 1236 (King Alexander II), and 1310 (King Robert The Bruce). Therefore, it appears that they stayed in good graces with the Crown and kept their lands, at least those of the main branch. There is a silence in the Chronicles between 1236 and 1310 concerning the family. This time period was generally under the rule of Alexander III (r. 1249-1285), the last of the Celtic Kings of Scotland. He was the last to be crowned on the hallowed "Stone of Destiny," soon to be removed to England by Edward I, where the famed "stone" remained until returned by Queen Elizabeth in 1997.

This "silence" could have been due to Scotland's being in a state of turmoil and its constant warring with England. Alexander III died without heirs and left Scotland with no King between 1285 and 1314, not under English domination, when King Robert The Bruce defeated the English at Bannockburn. The English King Edward I "Longshank" (r. 1272-1307) made it his lifelong ambition to rule Scotland, which he did from 1298 (Battle of Falkirk) until he died in 1307 and his son Edward II was defeated at Bannockburn in 1314. Scotland remained free of English control until the battle of Culloden in 1746. Since that time Scotland has been under English control and government.

According to Cosmo Innes, CADDELL and variations of the spelling are synonymous with the name CALDER. A surname supposed to be originally Welsh but has been found to be of French origin.

In his "Scottish Nations", William Anderson identified "CALDER, an ancient surname assumed from the lands of CALDER, now CAWDOR, in Nairnshire, but derived originally," according to Anderson, "from the French Knight Hugo deCADELLA, from which the name of CADELL takes its rise." The Hall of Names International listed Caddell as a ancient family in Banffshire, possibly even before the Norman Invasion.

The use of Surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000. Such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans during the next 50 years, and then only occasionally used until they became commonly used in the mid-twelfth century. According to William Stewart in a general council at Forfar, Scotland in 1061 AD during the reign of King Malcolm Ceannmor (Canmore), he directed his chief subjects to adopt the use of Surnames from their territorial possessions after the custom of other nations. Thus were created "The first erlis that euir was in Scotland," and

"Mony surename also les and moir,
Wes maid that tyme quhilk wes nocht of befoir.
As CALDER, Lokart, Gordoun, and Setoun,...."

According to Hume of Godscroft, in his writings, King Malcolm III, in 1060 AD, created a Baronage for Hugo deCADELLA of Nairn. Hugo deCADELLA apparently settled in Scotland during the Norman invasion, since no records show the name prior to 1060. It is reported that he was a French Knight. It is also know that during the period, many Norman Knights acquired vast estates in Scotland through intermarriage with Celtic heiresses. The Normans were already part Celtic and readily fitted in with the Scottish Celts.

Macbeth (1039 - 1057), last of the Celtic Kings, usurped power in Scotland when he assassinated his cousin, King Duncan I. Macbeath, cut off the Thane of CALDER and others from their lands for not submitting to his tyranny. CALDER also known as the Thane of Nairn was likewise sheriff of that county. Macbeath was slain by MacDuff, Thane of Fife, and Duncan's son, Malcolm III (Cean-More or Canmore) succeeded the throne and restored the lands that had been taken by Macbeath.

CAWDOR represents the old Lowland pronunciation of northern CALDER. It has been suggested that the displacement of CALDER by the false form of CAWDOR was due, at least in part, to William Shakespeare, who in "Macbeth" adopted the Lowland form of the name.

In Sheriff Macphail's "Highland Papers" concerning the murder of John Campbell of CAWDOR in 1591, was listed from the original text "...the now deceased John Campbell of CADDELL (CAWDOR)...."

The original patrimony of the Thanes of CALDER (later identified as CAWDOR) appears to have been limited to the fertile valley lying between Brackla and Barevan in the Highlands of Scotland, currently on the CAWDOR Castle estate. Additions were the lands of Highland Boath, Banchor, Dunmaglass, Moy near Forres, Little Urchany, and Urchanybeg. As early as the 1300s the family owned considerable lands around Inverness.

The population of Scotland was very sparse. The inhabitants of the country were mostly in the areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The majority were Celts, mainly north of the Forth and Clyde and in the southwest. There were Norseman (Vikings) in Caithness, Sutherland and the Western Isles, Anglo-Saxons in Lothian; and along the east coast in the port cities (colonies of foreign merchants) of Inverness, Elgin, Aberdeen, Perth, Montrose, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Berwick.

The country was wilder, having vast forests of the native Scottish pine in abundance which were dark and impenetrable, where wolves and wild boars roamed and wide wastes of moor and bog, mountain and water covered much of the land. Transport was mostly by pack horse along tracks which were sometimes impassable in winter.

The Feudal system was introduced into the Celtic kingdom of Scotland by David I on assuming his throne in 1124. For the next 600 years, the Feudal system was in constant conflict with the Clan system that had been developing in the Highlands. Under the Feudal system all land belonged to the King. He governed by leasing large provinces to his leading noblemen in return for their loyalty and, in time of war, armed knights to defend the Crown. These lands were further subdivided to smaller estates leased to knights and gentlemen for the same security and loyalty. These estates were further leased to others with husbandmen and serfs to tend the land and serve their masters and in times of war with shield and spear. The great Celtic landowners, who had previously held their land by tribal custom, had their possessions and privileges confirmed by charters from the Crown. There was orderly transitions - no landlords were deposed and land grants were from estates where native families had died out as well as other estates confiscated by the Crown.

The central government was provided through agents of the King - chamberlain, justiciar, and sheriffs. The sheriffs, some 30 in number, were the Kings Royal agents in the local districts into which the kingdom was divided. They were the sinews of the administration, presiding over courts for free men to use, collecting and accounting for royal revenues, and supervising the Royal castles in their sheriffdoms. They were appointed by the King and usually were earls and barons who were already prominent landowners in their areas.

The early generations of CALDER were sheriffs of the Shire and constables and keepers of the Royal castle at Nairn. In 1720 Lachlan Shaw (the historian of Moray), described "The Thanes of CAWDOR, as constables of the King's house, resided in the castle of Nairn, and had a country seat at what is now called ‘Old CAWDOR', a half-mile north from the present seat," the current CAWDOR castle. The family had considerable wealth and influence, having at a very early date large tracts of land in and around Nairn, including Balmakeith, Millbank, Dunmaglas, the Gallowslands, the Skateraw, Auchindoune and Barevan. During the late 15th century the family estate was one of the most valuable and extensive in the north of Scotland. In about 1437 under the rule of King James II, the younger male family members appear to have sought public service in the south of Scotland.

Various spellings of the name have been found during the period: Cadella (1000s and 1100s), KALEDOR (1295), KALEDOUER, KAUDER, CALDOR (1345), CAUDOR (1400s), CAULDER, CAWDOR, CALDER, CALDELL, CATTELL, Caddell and variations of these spellings. Others included Cadel, Cadell, Caddel, Cadwell, Caudel, Caudell, Caudill, Codel, Coddel, Coddell, Codell, Cudal, Cudel, Cudell, Cuddel, Cudell, Cudil, Cudill and Cudul.

CADDELL/CADDEL (CADELL, CALDER,CATTELL), is listed in the official Clan Registry in Scotland as a sept of the Clan Campbell of CAWDOR. The name is said to be a form of CALDER. Cosmo Innes stated in his book "Concerning Some Scottish Surnames" the "northern CALDERs and CAWDORs were distinguished as CADELL and deCADELLA even in the old Scots Chronicles and the variety CADDELL was kept permanently in the south."

CALDER, CALDELL and CADDELL have ancient connections to Caithness. CALDER and CADDELL, Caithness surnames are from CALDER or CAWDOR. CALDER in Caithness "in its older form of CALDELL (a sharpened form of CADDEL) and CADDELL, is of considerable antiquity. In the 17th century CALDELL was one of the most frequent seen names in Caithness. Some of the finest Highland pistols ever made bore the name CADDELL - made in the workshops of a family dynasty of CADDELL's in Doune, Perthshire, Scotland. The name appeared in Kilmadock parish in the 17th century and was common in Edinburgh in the 16th century. The name CADDER/KEDDER also appears to be, during the 16th century, from the village of CADDER, CADDER parish, Lanarkshire.

In addition to Cawdor Castle, the Calders built Asloune Castle sometime during the 1500's. Little remains of the Z-plan tower house except one tower. Its ruins are located about two miles south and west of Alford, SCT on a minor road west of A980 and just north of Strow Burn. In 1440 the Calders acquired Aswanley House from the Gordons, a long low L-plan building of two stories and a garret with a round stair-tower projecting from the main block and enclosed by a courtyard. It is located about seven miles west of Huntly, on a minor road south of A920, near the River Deveron 1.5 miles east of Haus of Glass, Mains of Aswanley